Help! Major Subtest II/Math Anxiety Attack!

Discussion in 'Multiple Subject Tests' started by Mllezoe, Jun 3, 2006.

  1. Mllezoe

    Mllezoe Rookie

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    Jun 3, 2006

    Hi all,
    Ok, I've got to be honest here, it's 1:15am and I'm seriously having the worst panic attack EVER about Subtest II. Here's the deal...I took Subtests I and III in March and passed both tests on the first try. I studied like a demon for two months before the tests. They were easier than I thought. I've been on these boards before...I used to teach college; I have an M.A. in art history. That being said, I am one of those people who cannot do math; seriously, I think there is something wrong with the part of my brain that works with numbers. My last algebra and geometry classes were 24 years ago. I had to have tutors just to get C's in them. I am looking at the practice questions in all my CSET prep books; I've even been studying the Idiot books and I am beyond an idiot because I can't grasp this stuff.

    Can someone who's taken Subtest II give me a general idea of what to expect on the exam? I read some posts on this board but I'm still confused. One person said to know Pre-calculus and trig stuff - well, I'm dead then - I can barely understand algebra at this point. The CSET practice test didn't LOOK that bad; but what's the actual test like? Should I get a tutor? I've signed up for the July test and will take it, but am not optimistic about passing it. I'll take it again in September.
    I am waiting to hear if I've been accepted to the credential program at CSUN for Fall '06 under 'exceptional' admission - just because I haven't taken this one test.

    Honestly, I feel like throwing up! I know I'm thinking irrationally right now; but I feel like my whole desire to be a kindergarten (that's right - kindergarten!) teacher is going to go down the drain because of one test.
    ANY HELP would be greatly appreciated. I am so sorry for the length of this post.
    Thanks in advance.
     
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  3. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Everyone's brain works differently than everyone else's. Math is easier for some than others. But I can just about guarantee you that you can master the math required to pass CSET MS. I have had adult students just like you with math anxiety and long out of school. They were able to master similar material. And so can you.

    The math is definitely not precalculus math. And AFAIK there is no trigonometry. Have you looked at the Subtest Description? If it is not on the Subtest Description, it will not be on the test, and you don't have to know it. You do need to know basic algebra like how to deal with linear and quadratic equations. And you do need to know basic geometry. Also basic probability and statistics.

    IMHO what you need to do is focus on the requirements of the test. I don't think that simply looking at the practice questions in the prep book is the best way to go. I think you need to review each of the subjects listed in the Subtest Description, then do lots and lots of problems in each area until you have it down pat. My guess is a good tutor who is familiar with the math requirements of CSET MS would do wonders for you, too.

    There are several good online resources. Here are a couple:

    The Math Page
    SOS Math

    BTW, how are you on science? That is the other part of Subtest II.
     
  4. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Seems to me that someone posted information about a good tutor in SoCal. Since you want to go to Northridge, my guess is you live in the San Fernando Valley or close by. You might want to research this and see if the tutor is close enough to work for you.
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Mllezoe, the math really and truly isn't that complicated. Did you get through CBEST math in what passes for one piece?

    I'll second Malcolm's suggestion of a tutor - and it sounds like you need someone who deals specifically with math anxiety. Where in California are you located?
     
  6. Mllezoe

    Mllezoe Rookie

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    Hi Malcolm and TeacherGroupie,
    Thank you so much for your help and clarification regarding: Subtest II.
    I live in Simi Valley - there are a few community colleges and a private university near me - plus CSUN of course. Perhaps I can find a tutor at one of these schools.
    Yes, I do know I need to focus on the requirements of the test, learn them and practice, practice, practice! I think I'm just overwhelmed for some reason. I started reading too many posts and got confused. Compared to math, I am great at science - ha! Seriously, I am decent at science and feel that if I study hard enough, I can pass that. It's definitely the math that gives me true anxiety. I'm going to take a deep breath, read the requirements again, and start from scratch. Oh, and find a tutor. Thank you both for putting my mind at somewhat at ease, and truly making me feel I *can* do this if I try. I've just lost my nerve - I am going to find it! You guys are great. Seriously, I don't know what I'd do without this site. I will touch base again soon and let you know how I'm doing! I refuse to let a test stand in the way of my dream!!!!!!
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Let me ease your mind a little more: Subtest II is scored holistically, which means that it really and truly doesn't matter WHERE in the subtest you get your 220 scaled points AS LONG AS you get your 220 scaled points. So if that means acing the science (which is perfectly doable, and we can talk about that) and sort of diddling at the math, then ace the science and sort of diddle at the math.

    And do feel free to ask questions about the content here on AtoZ. Malcolm's very good about answering, and I've been known to post a few explanations myself. You might also want to prowl previous threads for discussions that shed light on issues you've got.

    Let me start you with this idea: Instead of bashing yourself for what you don't know, please reward yourself for what you do know and for putting in effort. Are you fond of M&Ms, or is there something more or less similarly configured that you have a yen for? Fine: buy a bag and open it, and every time you so much as sit down to look at math, give yourself an M&M. Give yourself another one when you work a practice problem. Give yourself another one when you get it right. And so on.

    Another thing: If a student of yours were facing a test that had him terrified, how would you treat him and what might you suggest? Would you have him focus energy on his not-knowing? I didn't think so. Well, guess what, cookie? You're your own student now. Be as kind and supportive of yourself as you'd be of one of your students, okay?

    And please keep us in the loop.
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oh, and here's another idea: I think maybe you need to find someone to tutor in math.

    Yes, math. Why? See http://www.jumptutoring.org and John Mighton's They Myth of Ability - chances are fairly decent that your local Barnes & Noble will have the book in among the education books that it carries.
     
  9. Setware

    Setware Rookie

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    Jun 4, 2006

    Mellezoe
    Subtest two in my opinion is about the applications of math. For example you know that 10 plus 10 is 20. But on the test it will not be asked like that. They will ask if Jane has 10 oranges and James has 10 apples. How many fruits will they have in all? You must know how to work everyday math problems using fractions and decimals. How decimals and fractions like you know the back of your hand. You must also know how to apply them.
    You must also know propotions, ratio and rates.
    For example John runs 20 miles in 1 hour how far will he run in 30 minutes?
    I need 5 egges for 2 pounds of cake how much will I need for 50 ounces of cake?
    This triangle is five times bigger than that one. The radius on circle one is 9meters how long in the radius on circle two? They cand do this with any shapes not just a circle.
    You must know linear functions. Know what each variable means on the equation
    y=a+bx
    a is the y intercept. this is where x is equal to 0. b is the slope or rate of the equation. Remember they will not ask what is a. They will ask you to apply it to real life.
    You needto know how to do mathematical calculations for quadratic equations. Know hoe to calculate the x and y of these equations.
    -Know how to solve for area, perimeter, surface area and volume of all the shapes. You don't know which one you will get.
    Application:agains it's about applications.
    How much gift paper will I need to wrap this gift. surface area
    H
     
  10. Setware

    Setware Rookie

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    Mellezoe, Subtest two in my opinion is about the applications of math. For example you know that 10 plus 10 is 20. But on the test it will not be asked like that. They will ask if Jane has 10 oranges and James has 10 apples. How many fruits will they have in all? You must know how to work everyday math problems using fractions and decimals. Know decimals and fractions like you know the back of your hand. You must also know how to apply them.
    You must also know propotions, ratio and rates.
    For example John runs 20 miles in 1 hour how far will he run in 30 minutes?
    I need 5 egges for 2 pounds of cake how much will I need for 50 ounces of cake?
    This circle is five times bigger than that one. The radius on circle one is 9meters how long in the radius on circle two? They can ask this wof any shapes not just a circle.
    You must know linear functions. Know what each variable means on the equation
    y=a+bx
    a is the y intercept. this is where x is equal to 0. b is the slope or rate of the equation. Remember they will not ask what is a. They will ask you to apply it to real life.
    You need to know how to do mathematical calculations for quadratic equations. Know how to calculate the x and y of these equations.
    -Know how to solve for area, perimeter, surface area and volume of all the shapes. You don't know which one you will get.
    Application:agains it's about applications.
    How much gift paper will I need to wrap this gift? surface area
    How much space will I need to store this item volume?
    What distance will I travel around this race track. perimeter.
    How many tiles will I need to cover this floor? area
    There will be a few probabilty questions.I believe that the practice exam on the cset website is an accurate reflection of what the math section will be about?
    For the science I read the book Sciencesaurus A Student Handbook. isbn 0669510157.I got this book from one of my 5th grade students. He said the principal gave it to him. Read the whole book. I did it in four days.Two of my short essays were in this book. So I know I nailed them both.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I'm going to quibble here.

    The classic version of the equation of a line is

    y = mx + b,​

    where y and x are points on a line, m is the slope of the line (how fast it rises or falls as one moves left to right), and b is the y-intercept, or the point at which the line crosses the y axis.

    Setware is correct that the CSET-MS taker needs to know what that equation looks like and what the parts mean. The test taker may also be called upon to generate the equation, given a graph - don't panic, though, because it's not that hard.

    The graph will show you the line. That means it shows you the y-intercept: if the line crosses the y axis at point (0,3), then b = +3; if the line crosses the y axis at point (0,-2), then b = -2.

    Then, given one other point on the line, you calculate the slope, m, using the slope formula, which probably won't come out quite right here but I'll give it a try :

    m = y2-y1
    . . . x2-x1​

    where y2 and x2 are coordinates of one point and y1 and x1 are coordinates of another (and it's perfectly legal to use the y-intercept point as one of them). Do the subtractions and reduce the fraction that results, and voila! you have the slope. And that's what you tuck into the equation right in front of the x.

    If the coordinates of both points are integers (and on CSET-MS, they usually are) and you're given the graph with two points, there's another way to find the slope:

    - From the point on the left, draw a vertical line the same height as the graph. From the point on the right, draw a horizontal line that intersects the vertical line.
    - Next, count horizontal spaces from the intersection of the horizontal and vertical lines to the point on the right. That's your run, or the difference in the x values: it goes in the denominator of the slope fraction.
    - Now count vertical spaces from the intersection of the horizontal and vertical lines to the point on the left: if you're counting upward, the number is positive; if downward, it's negative. That's your rise, or change in elevation from one point to the next: it goes in the denominator of the slope fraction.

    For example, if my points are (0,3) and (4,1), then my run is 4 and my rise is -2, so the slope's going to be -2/4 = -1/2.

    Makes sense, yes?
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2006
  12. Mllezoe

    Mllezoe Rookie

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    Jun 4, 2006

    Thank you Setware and as always, Teacher Groupie!!!! Now I know what I need to know, I just need to learn it! Ha! Yesterday I was just proud of myself for understand the simple idea of scientific notation. I actually got it - I didn't have any M&M's but believe me, I will reward myself. Whew. Time to hit the books...again, thanks so much to everyone who has calmed me down a great deal!
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    You're welcome, madame: always happy to help a lady.

    People, ask as many questions as you've got: these threads make a perfectly fine online study group, as long as people actually show up prepared to play. If I get tired, I'll stop answering, but the chances are that someone else will step up long before that point is reached.
     
  14. kmoney

    kmoney New Member

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    Jun 28, 2006

    hi! did you find someone to help you with the math...i'm def in the same boat as you and am a new user so i'm a litle confused with how this all works. any help would be greatly appreciated:)
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Is there some concept in particular that you want help with? Then ask, please.
     

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